drug induced nutrient depletions

Drug Induced Nutrient Depletions: The Ultimate Guide

Do you live in Ottawa? Are you interested in looking at drug induced nutrient depletions?

If so, you are in the right place.

Today, I will write about some typical drug induced nutrient depletions, including examining two client case studies.

Even better, I will show you how the client’s symptoms were related to the drug induced nutrient depletions and how they were resolved through supplementation.

In This Article:

Let’s start by looking at the scale of pharmaceutical use and its implications on health.

The Scale Of Pharmaceutical Use And Implications On Health

I want to start by saying that I am not anti-medication. They have a time and place, and I take medication myself, but there does seem to be an over-reliance within the Canadian medical system.

Let’s look at the statistics.

The Scale Of Pharmaceutical Use

The following is a highlight of the scale of pharmaceutical use:

  • 65.5% of Canadians between the age of 40-79 use at least one prescription medication per day.
  • 5-8% of deaths are associated with adverse drug reactions.
  • Iatrogenic (Doctor-Induced) causes are at 3rd leading cause of death in the US, leading to approximately 250,000 deaths per year.
  • There is poor reporting on iatrogenic causes of death in Canada.
  • In the US, it is estimated that 2.7 million serious adverse drug events occur each year.
  • Currently, about 170 million Americans take prescription medication.
  • About 1.6% of users will experience a severe adverse drug event yearly.
  • Pharmaceutical use by Canadians is on the rise.
  • Between 2011 and 2019, the pharmaceutical industry increased revenues by 35% to $29.9 billion.

The implications of this are immense, as many medications have adverse effects.

Implications On Health

These adverse effects are typically due to two reasons:

  1. Intended drug effect in non-target tissue, for example, an SSRI medication, affects serotonin metabolism in the intestine.
  2. Unintended effects such as drug-induced nutrient deficiency.

Let’s now look at what a nutrient is.

What Is A Nutrient?

Nutrients are molecules required to support and sustain life without disease.

If you have a low-grade nutrient deficiency, it will cause a disease state that may take years to appear.

Usually, the symptoms of nutrient deficiencies are treated by doctors with drugs, but no medication can treat a nutrient deficiency.

Let’s now look at how drug induced nutrient depletions occur.

How Do Drug Induced Nutrient Depletions Occur?

Medications affect nutrient status by interfering with the following:

  1. Digestion – the breakdown of nutrients.
  2. Absorption – the movement of the nutrient through the gut lining into the blood.
  3. Transport – carrying the nutrient throughout the gut and gut lining.
  4. Metabolism – the breakdown of nutrients.
  5. Synthesis
  6. Utilization – how well nutrients are used in the body
  7. Excretion – the excretion of nutrients.

Let’s look at a couple of resources I use to see which nutrient deficiencies medications cause.

An excellent online resource for nutrient-rated nutrient deficiencies is the website, Mytavin.com.

On this website, you can type in several drugs at one time, and it will give you a summary of the nutrient-related deficiencies plus the associated scientific references.

We will now examine a few real-life case studies highlighting drug-induced nutrient deficiencies.

Case Study 1

The first case is a 47-year-old female complaining of acid reflux, constipation, gingivitis (bleeding gums), a sore tongue, fatigue and easy bruising.

They say that they have not made any significant changes to their lifestyle before the onset of their symptoms.

Their medications include Pantoprazole (Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI)) and Lorazepam (anxiety).

Her symptoms started to get worse after starting the PPI.

Research has shown that PPi increases the risk of B12, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium deficiencies.

PPI’s use is also associated with affecting the gut microbiome.

Symptoms of a B12 deficiency include anemia, sore mouth, constipation, fatigue and tongue inflammation.

Magnesium deficiency symptoms include constipation and fatigue.

Iron deficiencies cause anemia, easy bruising and fatigue.

Poor gut microbiome health can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, decreased stomach acid and constipation.

Treatment approach

A B12, iron, magnesium and probiotic deficiency could explain the presenting symptoms.

So, supplementing with B12probioticsironmagnesium, and digestive enzyme supplements should help to resolve the symptoms.

Clinical Case 2

77-year-old male presents for help with post-heart attack rehabilitation. He had existing moderate to severe Osteoarthritis. Since the heart attack, he developed acid reflux.

He was also fatigued, lightheaded on standing, and frequently sick. He also suffers from IBS and poor mental function with poor memory and is easily confused.

His medication was Meloxicam, Lisinopril (HCTZ), Ranitidine and Rosuvastin.

These drugs cause several nutrient deficiencies, including the following:

  • Zinc – poor wound healing and weakened immunity.
  • B12 – Faugue, constipation, and confusion.
  • Iron – Fatigue and brain fog,
  • B6 – Poor concentration.
  • Calcium – Fatigue.
  • Phosphorus – fatigue
  • Selenium – Fatigue, constipation and weakened immunity.
  • Omega-3 – Fatigue and memory loss.
  • Melatonin – Fatigue and irritable bowels.
  • Potassium – Fatigue and indigestion.
  • Sodium – Poor concentration.
  • B1 – Fatigue, memory loss and confusion.

This case study is much more complicated, yet he only took four medications.

This case is typical as most post-heart attack patients are prescribed an Ace Inhibitor and a Statin.

If there are any edema issues, then expect a Diuretic as well.

Treatment Approach

The treatment plan includes the following supplements, zinc, Omega-3, B12, CoQ10, Digestzymes and probiotics.

Now It’s Over To You

Do you take prescribed medications?

Are you concerned about drug induced nutrient depletions?

Was this article helpful in understanding drug induced nutrient depletions?

Leave me a comment below.

Do You Need Help?

If you need help, I suggest you book a free functional medicine discovery session with me to determine whether my functional medicine approach fits your child’s needs.


The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply this information without first speaking with your doctor.

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